Calf injuries are not only painful but they can literally stop you in your tracks and limit your ability to move. Because we engage our calves any time we take a step, any calf injury needs to be treated effectively. If we don’t, we risk damaging them further and increasing our recovery time. Prompt and effective treatment by our expert staff here at The Physio will ensure the best recovery time and limit any long term damage, so you can get back to doing the things you love.
The two most common methods of injury that we see are muscle strains and muscle ruptures. There are also a number of less likely but serious causes that we will rule out during your examination.
Calf muscle strains occur when you overstretch the large muscles in the back of the lower leg, typically the gastrocnemius or soleus. This is common in sports that involve rapid acceleration and sudden stopping such as rugby, squash, tennis and running.
A calf muscle rupture, as the name suggests, involves the tearing of one of the muscles in the calf. This can be a partial tear or a complete rupture. One common scenario, known as ‘Tennis Leg’, is the complete or partial rupture of the plantaris muscle - a smaller calf muscle. This injury is common for people lunging forward during sports like tennis, hence the name.
There are a number of other less likely but serious injuries that present similar symptoms to these calf injuries, which we’ll assess to determine that your pain is not as a result of. These include:
Calf muscle strains are painful. You may still be able to walk, but with some (or lots of) discomfort. Some patients exhibit visible redness or bruising on the back of the leg and often they won’t be able to stand up on their toes without pain. With a partial tear or rupture, patients often describe hearing a ‘popping’ sound, along with sudden pain, swelling and bruising. If the injury affects the nerves at the back of the leg, you may also experience neural symptoms such as numbness, burning, tingling, and pins and needles.
Calf injuries have a high correlation with occupation and tightness. Majority of everyday people sit and stand during the day for 40 hours per week and expect their calf muscle to be explosive in the gym, sport or running after their kids. It is important to have treatment programs that take these factors into consideration and that what we do here. The bonus is because we also work with Podiatrist there is very handy equipment to help patients understand why these injuries occur in the lower limb.